I was not always the best child growing up. I did well in school and I kept out of trouble, but one of the biggest problems I had was that I was not grateful. Three Christmases stand out. During the first one, I was in middle-school and received a portable CD player from my brother and sister-in-law. I immediately announced what I wanted for my birthday in February. My sister-in-law called me out for that, and she was right to do so. I obviously did not learn, because another Christmas came and I expressed disappointment at the fact that my mother did not buy certain things I had on my Christmas list. As you might expect, my mother was upset. Still, I did not learn my lesson. That’s because on Christmas of my senior year in high school, my dad gave me a St. Christopher’s medal and chain. He had one growing up and passed it on to my older brother. Apparently, I mentioned a desire to have one too, and so my dad got me one for Christmas. He was excited and had his camera ready to photograph what he thought would be my joyful face. I think he snapped a few pics of a sourpuss instead. He had been dropping hints for a few weeks. I thought I was getting a video game system or something.
I’m writing about this today because I am now married with two kids. Like other parents, my wife and I deal with occasional ungratefulness, and I hope my daughters avoid what I did growing up. Still, one has to wonder where kids are getting an ungrateful behavior. Is it you? Are you saying “thanks” after someone hands you something? Are you expressing appreciation for the people that serve you food when you dine out with the family? It’s the little things that kids really pick up on, so it stands to reason that little Johnny or Sally is learning bad habits from dear old dad.
There’s a lot my daughters do not know about me. Truth be told, I hope things stay that way. But one characteristic I hope they remember about me was that I was a thankful father.
“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)